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 Texas : Towns A-Z / Central Texas South :

PRAIRIE VIEW, TEXAS

Waller County, Central Texas South
U.S. Highway 290
5 Miles E of Hempstead
4 Miles W of Waller
48 Miles NW of Houston
Population: 4,410 (2000)

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Texas - Prairie View Post Office
Prairie View Post Office
Courtesy Waller County Historical Society, Brookshire, Texas
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History in a Pecan Shell

The town is a direct descendant of a plantation run by Jared E. Kirby, a former Confederate Colonel. The plantation was named Alta Vista and was one of four in the area. After the death of her husband in 1867, the cash-strapped Mrs. Kirby converted her plantation home into the Alta Vista Institute, a boarding school for women.

In the mid 1870s she moved the school to Austin and sold the land to the State of Texas. In 1876, the Texas Legislature established the first higher learning public institution for Blacks in Texas. The agricultural and mechanical training school opened in March 1878 on the grounds of the old plantation. The original eight students departed from the program within days, however by a new act of the Texas Legislature (April of 1879) the Prairie View Normal and Industrial Training School was opened, which evolved into Prairie View A&M University.

The first post office appeared in 1892 in the home of Duncan D. Robertson. The building was also a store for both Black students and White farmers. The population at that time was estimated to be 300 people a respectable number for that time.

The post office closed its doors in 1938 and was rerouted through Hempstead, although in recent years a new post office has opened on the campus of the school.

The development of the school has helped the community prosper. The schools water system provides water for the town as well as fire and ambulance service.

The 1990 census reported a population of 4,129 which has since increased to 4,410 by 2000.

Where to Stay

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Waller County Texas 1907 Postal map
1907 Waller County Postal map showing Prairie View
(W of Waller. Above "L-E-R" in "W-A-L-L-E-R")
Courtesy Texas General Land Office
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Prairie View, Texas
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